The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask became a sort of tradition in my household every day after school. We’d come home, finish our homework, and automatically set ourselves up in front of our old console TV with our Nintendo 64 already raring to go. Mom curled up on the couch with her controller in hand and my siblings and I knelt on the floor as close to the TV as possible without getting scolded. Each time she hit “A” on the title screen, we eagerly shook as the game tones lead us to the Fairies Fountain theme and to her file named “Link”. Our eyes would gloss over the moment we dawned on the First Day. There wasn’t a day that would go by where we didn’t play a bit of Zelda until we eventually beat the game, and even after then, us three kids continued it by ourselves.
The next time we played, we decided to create our own file. Being the head of the pack, I was the one who held the controller in my hands now as my siblings sat closer to me. My fingers nudged the C-pad over and over until the name I wanted was finally spelled out.
“Whyy?” One of them whined.
I didn’t have a particular reason. Ganon never appears in Majora’s Mask as a villain or otherwise, and so naming him so seemed like a fun idea. I’m sure in the eyes of a seven-year-old, naming him “Ganon” was comical to me. Even as a child, I was a sadist towards video game characters, it seems.
The game started out as it always did: a cut scene beginning with Link riding Epona through the woods on a quest for his missing friend. But something was different. In the top left corner of the screen, three hearts were displayed as if we were in the middle of game play and the magic bar was so long it continued off the screen. Usually all displays were not pictured during cut scenes but the hearts and magic bar were clear as day. It was strange but we paid it no mind as we continued to watch the scene play out, getting angry when the Skull Kid stole Link’s Ocarina.
The usual happened, Skull Kid hopped onto Epona and Link held on for dear life as he was dragged for yards.
And this is where it changed.
We were thrown off the horse as usual, and about to begin our journey to find Skull Kid when our hearts suddenly depleted, Link collapsed, and the game ended.
With no explanation, Link had suddenly taken so much damage that he died the moment we gained control of him. We looked around at each other, hoping this was just a fluke.
A moment game reset back to Link being dragged near the end of the cut scene, and this time I noticed that there were red marks by Link, like the ones that would appear on him when being harmed.
Epona was physically harming Link when she dragged him.
And then the same thing happened. Link was thrown and before a step could be taken, he instantly collapsed and died. Another fade to black. Continuously the game reset to attempt to continue and never did it ever play through. Every single time it reset, we died in the same way.
It wasn’t until we turned off the console, and deleted that GANON file that we were able to start a new game and continue on as if nothing had ever happened. We played as usual and threw that weird occurrence out of ours minds. My siblings were much younger than me and they have no recollection of this ever happening. But I remember it clearly.
Years later, stories of BEN DROWNED surfaced from Creepy Pasta. The story was centered on a Majora’s Mask cartridge being haunted by a ghost named Ben, whose statue would follow Link throughout his journey. The Song of Healing could be heard playing backwards as you run through this suddenly glitched out world. Then with no reason at all, Link would die in a blaze of fire and electricity.
This Creepy Pasta story could have easily been made up and written to scare children, but having an experience with my own version of BEN’s horrors made it much more believable.
Was my game glitched? Perhaps the cartridge wasn’t pushed in all the way? Maybe I didn’t blow in the cartridge hard enough to get it to work smoothly? Either way, I ended up with that result once and never again did I try to play as Ganon in Majora’s Mask. And why I’m the only person in my family who remembers this, I will never understand.
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